Develop Personal Relationships with Reporters
Reporters can be a friend to your organization or they can be a stranger to it. It’s your choice. Get on the phone and talk to people. Tell them you want to know what they cover, find out what their deadlines are, and ask how you can help them. Call them if something really interesting is happening and let them know. Call them a few weeks or days in advance. And don’t just call when you need something. Treat this like a relationship. Ask advice. GIVE THEM FREE TICKETS WHENEVER THEY ASK. Offer them free tickets even when they don’t ask. Call them when you like something they’ve written. Take them to lunch. Have a beer with them after work. And help them whenever you can with facts or sources for stories.
And never use bully tactics to get stories. Lots of PR people do it but it’s rude. Use your head and good common courtesy to guide your actions and you’ll be much more successful in the long run.
Developing a Targeted Media List
You’ll get the most for your marketing investment if you carefully target a few key reporters. Sports reporters aren’t particularly interested in stories on pet odor removal, but a home and garden reporter might be. Your next task is to find out which home and garden reporter might like to see your release, and send your release directly to that person. Once you called and asked which reporter should get your release, it’s time to distribute. Fax and mail are both equally acceptable methods for distributing press releases. Mail it flat, not folded whenever budgets allow. It will “keep” better in a folder on in a pile on a desk than a folded document.
Dan Droz is Chairman and CEO of Droz & Associates: Marketing, Branding, Design, Public Relations, Advertising, Web Design, Interactive Marketing for Pittsburgh and surrounding regions.
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